Nearly 400 people applied to be part of the inaugural course, and among the 30 who were offered places were Fabio Cannavaro, Carlos Bocanegra, Juan Pablo Ángel, Nuno Gomes and Philippe Senderos, as well as club executives like Sérgio Rodrigues, the President of Cruzeiro.
On the first day of classes, an opening address was given by the FIFA President, who not only inspired the participants with some memorable anecdotes, but also urged the first cohort of the diploma to use the course “to protect football” and to gain the knowledge needed “to make the beautiful game truly global”. This was followed by fascinating lectures, including one on global football business models by AC Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis and another on Liverpool FC’s business case by the club’s former CEO, Peter Moore.
After this initial two-day gathering, the participants continued to debate and exchange views with industry experts and leading voices within football in relation to club operations and stadium management, finance, marketing and communications, sporting management and youth academies, and governance and legal matters, as well as leadership and negotiation. As part of the course’s curriculum, the participants were also asked to devise a strategic plan for their respective clubs.